Maharana Raj Singh Award - (Instituted in 1980-81)
Kanwar Raj Singh was born to Maharana Jagat Singh I and Jana Devi (daughter of Raj Singh Mertia Rathore), on Kartik Krishna 2 Vikram Samvat 1686. After the demise of Maharana Jagat Singh I, Raj Singh ascended the throne of Mewar in 1652 and went to Shree Eklingnath ji Temple and did 'Tula Dan' of precious gems and stones.
During the accession crisis in the Mughal Empire, Prince Aurangzeb had scored decisive victories against Prince Dara Shikoh. Maharana Raj Singh shrewdly refrained from responding to Dara's call for assistance, and wisely kept on strengthening his own kingdom. Maharana Raj Singh's neutrality in the war succession resulted in vast territorial gains for Mewar. During the reign of Maharana Jagat Singh I Some parganas of Mewar including Purmandal, Kherabad, Mandalgarh, Jahajpur, Sawer, Banera, Phuliya, Badnore, Hurda etc. were under Mughal control. He reoccupied them in the turbulent times of Shah Jahan's illness. He empowered Malpura, Toda, Tonk , Sawer, Lalsot and Chatsu. Maharana also established his hegemony over Dungarpur, Banswara Pratapgarh, Gyaspur and Dewalia. Maharana also set peace with local Bhils. He recruited them in his army, solidifying his army and defence thus settling peace in Mewar.
When Aurangzeb became the emperor, his anti - Hindu policies grew so harsh that Maharana could not resist opposing him. He also continued to breech the treaty with Mughals by repairing the fort Chittorgarh like his father. However, Maharana kept his relations with the Mughals by sending gifts and his Prince to the Mughal court. In year 1658 CE, Kanwar Sultan Singh went to congratulate Aurangzeb for his success in the war of Mughal succession. Delighted with this meeting, Aurangzeb returned all the provinces captured by the Mughals during the time of Maharana Jagat Singh I. In 1660 CE, Kishangarh's princess Charumati sent marriage proposal to Maharana Raj Singh, as she was being forced to marry Aurangzeb. He abducted her and married her, which outraged Aurangzeb. In 1669 CE, orthodox Aurangzeb gave the order to destroy Hindu temples and educational institutions and re-imposed Jaziya, Maharana opposed it openly. However, when Maharana gave refuge to Maharaja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur, Aurangzeb finally attacked Mewar. He attacked in 1679 CE, the Maharana resisted the attack by using guerrilla tactics. Aurangzeb was camping at Debari, after which he sent some forces to Udaipur. He ordered the destruction of Jagdish temple. It was resisted by 20 warriors of Mewar under the leadership of Naruji and all were killed fighting. Mughal forces destroyed many idols in the temple complex. Aurangzeb ordered his men to find the Maharana in the mountains, however no one succeeded. Disappointed Aurangzeb went to Delwara, destroyed temples and left for Ajmer.
Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor by his policies had abandoned his predecessors' legacy of pluralism and religious tolerance, citing his reintroduction of the Jaziya tax. He ordered the demolition of all-important temples within his empire and schools just to celebrate his 53rd birthday. It resulted in relocation of many idols to safer places because of this order. In this chaos, there was some family dispute in the Goswami brothers of Pushtimarg Haveli's third house belonging to Shree Dwarkadheeshji of Gokul. Thus, Goswami Vrajbhushanlal ji first went to Ahmedabad with the idol of Shree Dwarkadheeshji, but he was not sure about the protection there. Therefore, he sent a letter to Maharana Raj Singh who assured him for complete protection and invited him to Mewar. In 1670 CE the idol of Shree Dwarkadheeshji came from Ahmedabad to village Sadri in Mewar. The consecration of Shree Dwaradheeshji was ritualized in village Asautiya. Later, in the year 1719 CE Maharana Sangram Singh II consecrated the temple at Girdhargarh, Kankroli, on the bank of Lake Rajsamand. Due to the intolerance of Aurangzeb, Goswami Hariray Mahaprabhuji supervised the journey of Shree Vitthalnathji to Kheda Village (Nathdwara) through Khamnor. In the same manner, on 26th October 1669, Goswami Damodarlalji left from Giriraj Goverdhandham near Mathura with the idol of Shreenathji and reached Mewar via Agra, Kota, Bundi, Pushkar, Kishangarh, Chopasani (Jodhpur). From Jodhpur, he sent his uncle Govind ji (Gopinathji) to meet the Maharana. Maharana discussed this issue with his mother and graciously welcomed Shreenathji to Mewar and promised full protection by any means. After that Goswami Damodarlalji along with Shreenathji reached Mewar. In 1672 CE, Maharana went to Ghanerao to welcome Shreenathji in Mewar and granted the Village of Sihad (Nathdwara) for the establishment of Shreenathji's Temple which is about 50 kms from Udaipur. On 2nd April 1679 CE, Jaziya tax was re-imposed on non-Muslims by Aurangzeb and the order to demolish the Hindu temples was an act of absolutism. Maharana Raj Singh opposed the Mughal emperor. He wrote a disapproving letter to the emperor.
Maharana Raj Singh was a farsighted and able ruler. When he decided to oppose the Mughal rule, he maintained good relations with his neighbouring kingdoms. During the peace period in Mewar, the defence forces were highly strategized through which many of the discreet neighbouring kingdoms like Dungarpur, Banswara and Pratapgarh were forced to accept Mewar's suzerainty but through respectful means. He also had matrimonial alliances to strengthen the political situation in Mewar. Maharana Raj Singh married Kunwar Bai of Bundi, daughter of Rao Shatrushal in his princely period. He also had matrimonial alliances with Jaisalmer, Idar, Kishangarh too. Maharana's sister was married to Bikaner Prince Anup Singh and daughter Ajab Kunwar to Prince Bhav Singh of Bandhav. When Aurangzeb tried to conquer Marwar, he also gave refuge to the infant king of Marwar Ajit Singh, son of Maharaja Jaswant Singh in his captivity. In this era of continues struggle, Maharana Raj Singh gave refuge and aid to the brave warrior Durgadas Rathore, who was known for his Mughal resistance. When Sirohi's Prince Udaybhan captivated his own father and sat on the throne, the Maharana heard of this unjust act and he ordered Ram Singh Ranawat to attack Sirohi. Udaybhan lost the battle and fled. King Akheraj was reinstated on the throne. Maharana used all means including marriages and peace treaties to maintain friendly relations with other kingdoms. Maharana shrewdly increased the number of his supporting kingdoms and that is why he was able to oppose Mughal supremacy.
Maharana Raj Singh's political strategies were so strong that in despite of such tough situations, he was able to devote time and money for construction in Mewar. During his heir apparent period Kanwar Raj Singh built a Palace called Sarvaritu Vilas (Sarbat Vilas) and got a step-well made nearby. In 1659 CE, he completed the fort wall and the gate at Debari. He completed half built temples of Lord Shiva, Surya, Ganapati and Shani in Shree Jagdish temple, Udaipur which were half built in his father's time. Raj Singh constructed the largest lake of the time known as Rajsamundra (1662-1676 CE), with Nau Chowki Pal and a palace was constructed on the nearby hill and along with Shree Dwarakdheeshji temple. Near the lake, a town with his name Rajnagar also prospered. In 1664 CE, he built Shree Amba Mata temple in Udaipur. He built Lake Janasagar (Badi), west of Udaipur named after his mother Jana Devi near village Badi. Maharana also got constructed a new bridge near Indrasar (Indrasarover) at Eklingji. His queen Jhali Maharani got constructed a step-well called Ekmukhi Bawdi. In 1675 CE, queen Charumati got a step well built at Rajnagar and Panwar Rani got the Step well named 'Jaya Bawdi' made at Debari, now known as Trimukhi Bawdi. In 1668 CE, his son Kanwar Jai Singh built the Lake Rang Sagar. His minister, Fatehchand also got a step-well built at village Bedwas.
In Mewar, there is a local custom of worshipping 'Sagas ji' considered as 'Lok Devtas', lesser Gods and both the sons of Maharana Raj Singh, Sultan Singh and Sardar Singh are worshipped as such. The local folklore is that, the mother of Kanwar Sardar Singh wanted her son to be the next Maharana and she brainwashed Raj Singh with the help of a priest against Kanwar Sultan Singh. Thus, Kanwar Sultan Singh was assassinated. Then, the Rani wrote a note to her confident priest saying that she has got rid of Kanwar Sultan Singh, now they should poison the Maharana so that her son Kanwar Sardar Singh could ascend the throne of Mewar. After some time, this treachery planned by the Rani and the Purohit came out in the open and Maharana was very angry, so much so that the Rani and the Purohit were executed immediately. When Kanwar Sardar Singh came to know of this intrigue, he took poison and he died, as he felt deeply grieved because of his elder brother being put in the wrong of whom he was very fond of. Elder brother Kanwar Sultan Singh's cenotaph is at Sarvaritu Vilas and younger Kanwar Sardar Singh's cenotaph is at Kanwarpada Mahal, where they both are worshiped as Sagas ji.
Due to Maharana Raj Singh's love for art, architecture and literature, his period was a time of literary development even in the times of struggle. Where on one hand Maharana was struggling with the Mughals, on the other hand, he himself wrote poems. He gave royalty too many Sanskrit scholars, poets, artists and architects thus continued to contribute in enriching art and literature. During the time of Maharana Raj Singh, important texts such as Ranchod Bhatt's Rajprashasti Mahakavyam, Sadashiv’s Rajratnakar, Mankavi's Rajavilas, Rajprakash by Kishordas were composed and manuscripts of historical texts were also copied under Maharana's guidance. The principal engravers of Rajasamudra were Mukund, Dalapati, Maha Singh, Mokam Singh, Vyagrah who materialised Maharana Raj Singh's speculative imagination. The idols built at Ekmukhi, Sundar and Trimukhi step wells indicate the developed sculpture art.
Chawand painting school, which began during the period of Maharana Pratap, was also glorified during his reign. With the arrival of Shreenathji in Mewar, the emergence of a new painting school - Nathdwara style of painting was developed during this period, which is also known as Pichhwai. Maharana Raj Singh gave patronage of manuscript illustration. After his accession, he got completed the Ramayana Series, which was started by his father Maharana Jagat Singh I. Initially, three independent painting workshops continued at Udaipur commissioned to Sahibdin, Manohar and Deccani Painters. Sukarakshetramahatmya series (1655 CE), Sur Sagar (1655 CE), Raga Malkaus - Ragamala (1660 CE), Gitagovinda series (1665 CE), Bhagavata Purana Series (1665-70 CE), Gajendramoksha series (1680 CE), Eklingamahatmya series (1680CE) were illustrated during his reign.
Maharana Raj Singh has been known as very courageous and he wanted to fight Aurangzeb till his last breath. However, when he was travelling to Kumbhalgarh the royal camp was set up at a village called Oda. He was poisoned. He died in 1680 CE. He was cremated in Oda village only, where now stands a cenotaph in his remembrance.
Maharana Raj Singh Award is awarded in commemoration of the impact of the phenomenal role played by Maharana Raj Singh I during his life time.
Maharana Raj Singh Award is a city of Udaipur Award.
This award was instituted to honour deserving students of Universities based within the municipal limits of Udaipur and also students from those Colleges who are affiliated to these Universities, but are located outside Udaipur, for distinguished achievements in (i) Games and Sports (ii) Cultural, literary, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities conducted by a recognised body.
This Annual Udaipur Award to each candidate consists of:
1. A Commemorative Medal.
2. A Merit Certificate
3. Cash award of Rs. 11,001